Post Scorer, Shot Creator, Stretch Big

Marvin Bagley III Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Marvin Bagley III announced on Monday that he’s reclassifying to the 2017 high school class and joining the Duke Blue Devils for next season. The six-foot-11 big man might have to wait a little bit before the NCAA rules him eligible, given he made his decision to move on to college really late in the process, but ESPN’s Jonathan Givony tweeted his father is said to have been keeping his documentation diligently in order and everything should work out in the end.

The expectation is for the 18-year-old[1] Bagley to be one-and-done and join what’s already viewed as a highly touted 2018 NBA Draft class, at least at the very top. Givony released his first mock draft on Tuesday and the lefty is ranked second.

At Sierra Canyon, Bagley had plenty of opportunities to create a shot from the post and the team spaced the floor fairly well around him. But though he flashed his ball skills and coordination on a few face-up drives and in transition, he was not given any chance to create from the perimeter against a set defense in the games against Oak Hill Academy and Nathan Hale – which this evaluation is based on.

Bagley was also not put in the pick-and-roll a whole lot in this game, which was disappointing.

Defensively, his energy and intensity were nice to see. He contested a lot of shots near the basket and worked hard on the glass. Bagley also even flashed some intelligence switching on the fly, which Sierra Canyon did a little bit of – a matchup zone of sorts. There’s still room for him to improve as a positional defender, though, rotating preemptively to keep opponents from getting to the basket to begin with.

[1] Who turns 19 only in March

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

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Post Scorer, Undersized Big

John Collins Scouting Report

CONTEXT

John Collins was not perceived as a draft prospect at the start of last season. His first appearance on a mock draft at Draft Express was in January and he was slotted 35th. Six months later, he’s now ranked 12th on the website’s top 100 and projected to be drafted in the lottery tomorrow night.

The six-foot-nine big man shot up the boards in the last half-a-year after leading the NCAA in PER and guiding Wake Forest to an NCAA Tournament berth, averaging 1.68 points per shot and leading a team in offensive rating that ranked seventh in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency.

His measurements are unimpressive for a big man prospect and he played a back to the basket style that is unlikely to translate to the pros. His awareness on defense is also a serious concern for someone who will almost surely be viewed as a center in today’s game, given he’s yet to develop perimeter skills.

But Collins is an impressive athlete and posted a really strong statistical profile last season – averaging 28.8 points per 40 minutes on 30.4% usage while being responsible for creating most of his own shots, as 51.5% of his field goals were unassisted. He did so while playing the entire season at age 19, given his September birthday, despite being a sophomore.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

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7-footer, Catch&Score Finisher, Post Scorer, Stretch Big

Zach Collins Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Zach Collins was a McDonald’s All American last year but he was, for the most part, an unknown commodity entering the season as far as draft prospects are concerned.

Rivals ranked him 21st in the 2016 high school class and there wasn’t a lot of expectation the seven-footer would get a prominent role right away at Gonzaga, with stalwart Przemek Karnowski returning for a fifth year of eligibility and highly touted transfer Johnathan Williams becoming available after sitting out a year.

He was even expected to face some competition for the third big spot in the rotation, with Killian Tillie and Rui Hachimura – two players who have impressed in FIBA junior events – also joining the program.

But Collins did break out immediately and while his playing time was still limited (just 17.3 minutes per game) due to the two veterans ahead of him in the pecking order and his constant foul trouble, the 19-year-old showed enough promise in his one year of college basketball to end up ranked 12th in Draft Express’ top 100.

Collins is certainly talented but he was also fortunate to join a team that put him in the best possible position to succeed. In a time where post play is getting increasingly devalued by the day, Gonzaga got a quarter of its shots coming out of the low block – as well chronicled by Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn.

With his 232 pounds well distributed over his seven-foot frame, Collins has an advanced physical profile for someone his age and was able to earn good position with his back to the basket from the get-go, though just as important was the fact that Gonzaga was a team run by veteran guards – with Jordan Matthews, Silas Melson, Josh Perkins and Nigel Williams-Goss entering the season with a combined 271 games of college basketball experience under their belts.

Collins did well demanding the ball but those ball-handlers did just as well getting it to him and that system empowered him – as he posted a 24.9% usage rate.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

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Post Scorer, Shot Creator

Jayson Tatum Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Jayson Tatum had somewhat of an up and down season in his one year at Duke.

The six-foot-eight combo forward started the season injured, missing the first couple of months with a foot strain, but Duke managed to survive his absence just fine thanks to Luke Kennard and Grayson Allen fueling a furious drive-and-kick attack.

When he returned, Tatum had some trouble fitting into that identity and played primarily as a pure post up scorer in his first few games back, acting mostly outside the ecosystem on slower-developing plays.

As the season went on, Duke incorporated Tatum into its drive-and-kick sequences a bit more but it never quite looked as good as it did when Kennard and Allen were leading the charge earlier in the year, which was crucial in order to make up for its problems on other end. Consequently, the team lost four of its first seven conference games.

Nonetheless, as Allen dealt with his unsportsmanlike conduct suspension and had his role within the team diminished as the season winded down, Duke evolved into a team who still ran plenty of motion but looked to get Tatum the ball in his spots even more regularly and he led the team in usage rate during conference play.

As Tatum got healthier and got going, averaging 19.2 points per 40 minutes against ACC competition, Duke righted the ship, eventually finishing the season with 11 wins in 18 conference games and winning the conference tournament in Brooklyn.

Duke went down in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, losing to eventual Final Four participant South Carolina, but Tatum did his part, finishing that game with 15 points on 12 shots in 34 minutes.

Overall, he impressed last season and solidified his status as a top five prospect, as Draft Express currently ranks him fourth in its top 100.

However, Tatum didn’t show a lot of improvement in terms of playing in more of a team-oriented manner. And considering he played on a team with a good deal of talent around him and within a well-structured offense that emphasized the sort of ball movement and people movement that the NBA is looking for these days, the fact that Tatum didn’t prove to be a natural fit is a cause for concern.

(Check the rest of the post at RealGM)

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Post Scorer

Sekou Doumbouya Scouting Report

CONTEXT

Sekou Doumbouya had one of the most impressive performances you will ever see at the 2016 FIBA U18 European Championships last December. According to RealGM, the teenager posted averages of 21.6 points and 11.1 rebounds per 40 minutes against players almost three years older than him, as he was yet to turn 16 at the time of the tournament.

That was possible because despite his age, Doumbouya already has an NBA-caliber frame, listed at six-foot-nine and 210 pounds by Draft Express, so he’s able to not only compete above his age group but even dominate from a physical-standpoint, as France used him as a big man who made most of his plays close to the basket.

Without a whole lot else to improve in terms of size, except maybe grow another inch or two and fortify the strength he already possesses, Doumbouya is off to the pro level, as INSEP[1] has loaned him to Poitiers 86, a club that plays the French LNB Pro B – the country’s second division, where he’s already logged 214 minutes in 15 appearances this season.

ATHLETIC ABILITY

Doumbouya excelled at everything related to athletic ability at the 2016 FIBA U18 European Championships.

He got consistently deep post position due to his combination of size and strength. According to RealGM, Doumbouya finished 30.4% of France’s possessions with a shot, foul shot or turnover in his 29.4 minutes per game on the floor, with a good chunk of his touches coming with his back to the basket.

He used his strength to back his way into short range hooks and even flashed some fluid footwork, though he is yet to develop a diverse set of moves. Relying heavily on his power moves, Doumbouya drew fouls in volume and averaged 8.2 foul shots per 40 minutes.

Put in the pick-and-roll, he was a pretty shitty screener who almost never to draw contact but flashed elite explosiveness elevating off two feet to play above the rim as a target for lobs.

His effort on the offensive glass wasn’t all that impressive but Doumbouya appears to have elite length to rebound outside of his area, collecting 11% of France’s misses when he was on the floor – far from an elite mark, but a meaningful contribution nonetheless.

When he stepped outside on the perimeter from time to time, Doumbouya showed a lot of fluidity attacking closeouts and coordination to take it from outside the three-point line all the way to the basket on straight line drives, able to cover a ton of ground with his long strides and maintain his balance through contact.

On the other end, Doumbouya showed flashes of potential elite defense. When he is in position and puts in the effort to make plays, his quickness and length can act as difference makers.

During his best moments, Doumbouya used his mobility to defend all over the floor; running shooters off the three-point line on long closeouts, showing-and-recovering on pick-and-rolls way high in the perimeter, keeping pace with dribble drivers when they got downhill in the pick-and-roll and picking up smaller players on switches – working hard on ball denial, bending his knees to get low in a stance, showcasing lateral quickness to stay in front and using his length to intimidate shots.

His biggest impact was still close to the basket, though. When he finds himself well positioned, Doumbouya can elevate explosively off two feet stepping into the front of the basket to block shots.

He’s also attentive to his boxout responsibilities and proved himself able to hold his ground and get physical against older competition, collecting 20.2% of opponents’ misses at this event.

SKILL LEVEL & AWARENESS

But though he’s shown some flashes, Doumbouya is still in his infancy with regards to the finer details of the game, those related to skill level and recognition of what’s going on around him in a given moment.

He’s shown glimpses of intelligent play on defense, rotating inside to cut off the roll man diving to the basket but his awareness is still mostly iffy and he doesn’t challenge enough shots at the basket because of it. Despite his explosiveness elevating off one foot as well, Doumbouya doesn’t often make it to the rim in help defense, which is why he averaged just 1.1 blocks per 40 minutes at this event – a good chunk of those in transition defense.

And though he did very well in individual defense, Doumbouya is still easily tricked by shot fakes, as he’s prone to leaving his feet to try blocking jump-shots and makes himself vulnerable to fouling.

On offense, Doumbouya can handle the ball in transition but isn’t yet a viable option to initiate offense regularly because his handle is loose and he struggles against pressure.

Doumbouya can get to the basket in isolation thanks to his explosive first step and long strides, proving himself able to blow by just about every opposing big he faced in that tournament, but doesn’t yet have a particularly advanced set of dribble moves. He did flash the abilities to hesitate-and-go and go between the legs but doesn’t have much side-to-side shake.

At the basket, Doumbouya struggled to finish through contact and with his touch on non-dunk finishes, which explains his below average .452 effective field goal percentage, despite the fact he didn’t take many jumpers.

Most of the jumpers he did take were catch-and-shoot three-pointers out of spot-ups, as he didn’t show any dynamism in his shot to get looks out of the pick-and-pop or coming off screens. His release is not all that consistent yet, as he missed 17 of his 20 three-point shots at the 2016 U18 FIBA European Championships but has nailed 10 of his 25 such attempts with Poitiers in the French LNB Pro B.

He is still very raw in terms of being able to create for others as well. Doumbouya has flashed some very appealing ability to make drop-off passes on dribble drives with Poitiers but struggled mightily in traffic or when double teamed and crowded in post at the Euros U18, averaging 5.1 turnovers per 40 minutes and handing out just three assists in six appearances at the event.

[1] The French sports academy sponsored by the country’s Ministry of Youth and Sport

Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

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7-footer, Post Scorer

Dusan Ristic Scouting Report

CONTEXT

With Kaleb Tarczewski finally gone, Dusan Ristic has stepped up to a more prominent role as Arizona’s starting center this season. After logging just 869 minutes in his first couple of seasons, the seven-footer born in Serbian is already up to 518 minutes in 21 appearances this year and has averaged 24.7 minutes per game.

Unfortunately for Ristic, the game is going away from old school throwback types like him – who can’t defend pick-and-rolls beyond the foul line or pick up smaller players on switches and can only substantially contribute on offense from the post but without doing so in a dominant manner.

Because of that, Draft Express does not rank Ristic in its top 100.

POST GAME

Ristic uses the strength in his 245-pound frame well to get deep seals against just about every center he’s faced at the college level. He doesn’t have particularly fluid footwork or a diverse set of shot fakes and relies mostly on his general size to bully his way into short range attempts.

Ristic does have good touch on turnaround hooks over the defender’s left shoulder, though. And he’s even flashed a turnaround-fadeaway jumper in the game against UCLA (hiking his leg Dirk Nowitzki-style) but for the most part hasn’t shown to have that as a real asset he can go to regularly.

Ristic has also not shown much lately in terms of being able to pass with his back to the basket, assisting on just 3.7% of Arizona’s scores when he’s been on the floor this season – according to basketball-reference.

OFFENSE AT THE RIM

He is a good screener who looks to draw contact and whose picks are tough for on-ball defenders to navigate around but doesn’t have the athletic ability needed to act as a credible scoring threat out of the pick-and-roll consistently.

Ristic can’t roll hard to the basket, can’t play above the rim as a target for lobs and needs to catch and gather himself before going up strong, even out of the dunker’s spot. He does have great touch near the basket, though, converting 79.7% of his 64 shots at the rim this season – according to hoop-math.

Ristic doesn’t have great leaping ability or play with a high motor but he is able to set inside position on the offensive glass with some regularity and has length to rebound outside of his area – collecting 10.3% of Arizona’s misses when he’s been on the floor, which is not a difference making mark but a positive contribution nonetheless.

OFFENSE AWAY FROM THE BASKET

He has flashed the ability to make standstill shots from mid-range if given space to go through his methodical release and has even nailed eight of his 14 three-point shots over the last two-and-a-half years but rarely spots up in a shooting stance and doesn’t have the sort of dynamic release that suggests he could be used in the pick-and-pop.

Ristic has also flashed some ability to facilitate offense from the elbows but Arizona does not use him that way regularly.

DEFENSE

Just like on offense, he excels on areas where he can rely on his combination of size and strength.

Ristic is a stout post defender and tough to rebound or finish around, as he is attentive to his boxout responsibilities and has good awareness to rotate to the front of the rim and make himself a presence dribble drivers or cutters have to deal with.

But coming off the weak-side in help-defense is tougher because he doesn’t have any quickness and getting off the ground is a chore for him. Ristic can’t play above the rim as a shot blocker, picking up just 44 blocks in his 91 appearances in college. That lack of leaping ability also limits his impact on the glass. He’s collected 19.6% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor, which is a good mark but not dominant.

The biggest struggle for Ristic is defending outside the lane, though. Even in post defense, he needs to leave a cushion to face-up big men so he doesn’t get so easily beaten off the bounce and is vulnerable to having them burring jumpers in his face.

Against the ball-screen, Ristic is no option to switch or hedge high in the perimeter and needs to drop back. He actually shows some lateral mobility to contain dribble penetration when the ball handler snakes the pick-and-roll but can’t bend his knees to get down in a stance and has no shot keeping pace with dribble drivers when they get downhill.

Editor’s Note: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

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